To outline the natural history of vincristine-induced laryngeal paralysis (VLP) in children.
Retrospective case series and review of reported cases in the English-language literature.
Tertiary pediatric center.
The study included all children with a confirmed diagnosis of VLP by inspection and with complete clinical information. The sources for patient identification were a prospectively kept database and a review of the English-language literature, conducted on PubMed since 1966, as well as a bibliography search.
Main Outcome Measures
Charts and literature were reviewed for demographics, primary diagnosis, other diagnoses, and duration and method of treatment. The prevalence of VLP, locally, was also calculated.
Four children (3 boys and 1 girl) were identified in our database over a 5½-year period, and 10 children (1 girl, 8 boys, and 1 with sex omitted) were described in the English-language literature. Four children had unilateral vocal fold paralysis only, all left-sided. The median age was 2.6 years. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia was the underlying diagnosis in 8 patients. Two patients had Down syndrome, and 1 patient had Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, type 1. Only 2 patients required tracheotomies, and 1 patient was treated temporarily with bilevel positive-pressure ventilation. The median duration of paralysis was 6.8 weeks. The prevalence of VLP was 1.36%.
The data suggest that VLP is probably underreported and possibly underdiagnosed. Endoscopic inspection is a must in all patients with airway symptoms who are receiving vicristine therapy. Early recognition of VLP is mandatory, as it is reversible, has a good prognosis, and usually needs only interruption of vincristine therapy and conservative treatment.